by Bryan Gray
As someone who is not technology-savvy, I’m often asked by fellow CEOs and entrepreneurs how a guy like me got the inspiration to create an organization like MediaSauce (A close second being ‘where did we get our name?’ which I’ll cover some other time.)
The idea for MediaSauce formed a few years before the company was formed – which may sound familiar to most of you who have also launched firms from an idea or vision.
I’d been fortunate, or crazy enough, to have built two businesses from scratch and both earned spots on Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest growing companies. In my previous business, before MediaSauce, I owned a fast growing ATM distribution/processing company. Our success came, in part, from a really innovative branding program that helped us generate business from local financial institutions. Growing nationally, we were struggling to get traction on the East coast and so I traveled there to immerse myself in the marketplace and find out why our program – working elsewhere in the country – wasn’t working there.
I asked each of our eight sales reps in the area to define our branding program – as they understood it. Keep in mind we had all the traditional marketing materials (brochures, video tapes, etc). The result was a real shocker! I got eight different answers!
They each had the same brochures, the same tapes, the same training. Yet their failure to consistently tell our story led to limited success in the marketplace, despite having an otherwise good team.
That moment stuck with me. I’ve worked with a variety of very successful sales professionals but when you have confused sales people calling on confused prospects, the net result of confusion is commoditization or no decision. Neither are good for the bottom line.
Move the clock forward a few years (the ATM business sold and me looking for what’s next) and I’m at a trade conference in Chicago when, during the show, I received a video delivered via e-mail for the first time.
This message, concisely executed, featured the company’s spokesperson explaining their offering, testimonials justifying their claims, and a forward to a friend button. That was it. Simple by today’s standards but in 2001, it was cutting edge.
It was different. It was unforgettable.
At that moment, I had a vision for the future.
At an on-ramp to 294, I made the commitment to start a company that could help other organizations tell their story through these highly effective digital tools. I’d always known that stories connect us, not spreadsheets. I knew a company that could help develop a digital business strategy, to help executives understand which emerging technologies could best help them sell, would be an invaluable service.
In this Interconnected Age, connections and engagement are driving business forward. Sales forces need to have the digital tools to create personalized messages that also accurately and effectively tell your story. Customers seek to be entertained and interacted with – and they are responding more than ever to video, animation, games and other interactive, rich media to identify purchasing options and make buying decisions. Printed brochures and a DVD aren’t cutting it any more.
One of my favorite quotes is from Jack Welch, former CEO and Chairman of GE. “The rate of internal change must be greater than the rate of external change, or the company will fall behind.” It couldn’t be more true in this Digital Age.
The challenge today is figuring out which tactics to use so that your customers can hear your story and be resolved to action. Whether you have a complex or challenging business model, or just a powerful story to tell, don’t fall prey to the past. It’s not engaging, and never was. There’s a better way. It’s your job as CEO to ensure that your company moves forward, less you fall behind.
Bryan Gray is co-founder and CEO of MediaSauce. He’d like to hear about the moment of inspiration that sparked your business. Contact Bryan at 317-218-0500, on Twitter @bryansgray or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.